Owning a pharmacy is never easy. It involves a lot of risk, a lot of hard work, and the ability to change, evolve and adapt. There are many challenges that get thrown your way that you must deal with effectively. Many of which are completely outside of your control. And the reality is, not everyone is destined for pharmacy ownership. It’s not for everyone.
So, what does it take then to own multiple pharmacies? It takes a very special kind of owner with a different skill set. If you are heading down this path, there are some important things you need to know about.
You must change your management style. You already know the effort it takes to run one pharmacy. Mathematically you cannot manage your new pharmacies the same way as you do your current store. Not unless you want forgo family and sleep. When you have one store, you know just about everything that goes on. You are there 5 to 6 days a week, with input into nearly every aspect of the pharmacy’s operations. You are part of the conversations, the phone calls, the customer interactions, everything. You are able micro manage and have a good understanding of how the business is travelling just by being intimately involved in most, if not all daily aspects of the business. Some pharmacy owners are extremely good at this.
When you own multiple pharmacies though this is simply not possible. Your management style will need to change. You must learn how to control, manage and run a successful pharmacy with less direct involvement. The micro events that happen in a pharmacy should happen without your involvement. For some they cannot handle this aspect well, as some owners need direct involvement. And this is quite okay, that is just how they like to run their business. But for you to operate multiple pharmacies you will require a different management style.
Here are some aspects you will need to know about.
1. All systems and procedures must be documented, implemented, controlled and measured. The pharmacy should run to a high level without it being reliant on you. This can only happen if every aspect of your operations is documented and followed by your team. But also at a level where nearly every aspect of the business can be measured. If there are any faults in the system, they can multiply quickly. The worst that can happen are for problems to occur without you knowing.
For example, if your cash handling procedures are not tight and strictly adhered to, it’s only a manner of time before problems start occurring. Which is fine when you have the systems in place to measure and manage. But what happens if your systems aren’t tight enough and this happens without you knowing. That can become a very expensive lesson. Things change when the boss is not always in the store. “When the cat is away the mice will play”.
2. You should learn how to delegate some of your non-core responsibilities to other team members. Look at your current responsibilities and look at what can be delegated to other team members. Often the team members are more competent at these things than you are. You know you are onto a good thing when your pharmacists tell you to get out of the dispensary because you are just stuffing things up.
3. Also look at what aspects of your business can be outsourced. The finance function is one example where this should be outsourced to someone like Peak Strategies, where we can take over your finance function and manage it properly for you, whilst at the same time keeping you fully in touch with the performance of your stores. Doing the books for one is manageable, doing it for two is bloody hard work and consumes an awful amount of time which is better spent on other aspects of your business.
4. You must become extremely competent at building, developing and leading teams. This is not easy to do and can take a lifetime to master, if at all. But for you to effectively own multiple pharmacies you must learn how to develop a strong, highly performing team and lead them towards your vision. You need your teams aligned to your vision and performing at a high level.
5. You also need to know how to identify future junior partners amongst your team members. Not everyone is destined, or wants to be a business owner. So, you will need to mentor your pharmacy managers and groom the future stars. Your junior partners will also require you to mentor them, so they can learn from you, and grow into success owners, to lead their own teams, to develop their own successful pharmacies.
Hopefully after many years and lots of hard work, you can develop a strong system that you can replicate into different sites and own several successful pharmacies. It’s not for everyone, but if this is a goal of yours, then learn now how to run a successful pharmacy without it being dependant on you. Make yourself redundant now.
If you are heading down this path, talk to us at Peak Strategies about outsourcing your finance function. We handle the finance function for many pharmacies, especially multi-store groups. Ask us about how we can help you achieve dreams, whilst saving time and cost.